Storytelling Marketing

What people think is storytelling marketing

Storytelling marketing is one of the most misunderstood areas in marketing. You will often hear people parrot back something they read or heard on a podcast about how your customer is the hero, you are the wise or trusty mentor, guiding them through their journey, and the villain is some pain or obstacle they are trying to overcome.

This is a nice and neat definition, it’s easy to remember, and when you repeat it, you may sound like you know what you’re talking about.

The reality is, show me an example anywhere of a successful marketing campaign or messaging that followed this structure. I’ll wait.

What is actually storytelling marketing

What storytelling marketing actually is – it’s any narrative (beginning, middle, and end) device used to convey information. It could be – here’s our story, here’s why we made this, here’s how our thing is assembled, here’s why our thing is better, here’s an unboxing of our thing, here’s a before and after of our product or solution, etc.

There doesn’t need to be a conflict, there doesn’t need to be a villain, or trusty guide. It just needs to be interesting.

The goal with storytelling marketing is to better explain or demonstrate something, build affinity by aligning with your customers’ values, make your thing easy to remember and repeat, provide some education, inspiration, or entertainment, etc.

Examples of Storytelling Marketing

This is far from an exhaustive list, but already you can start to see how these examples are a better way to think about adding storytelling into your brand.

Our story

Why we made it

How we made it

How to use it

Before & after

Product comparison

Product evolution

Unboxing

Assembly

Case study

Testimonial

Social impact

Why Storytelling Matters

There are many reasons why storytelling matters, or is effective. We talk about this in more detail in some of the blog posts (see related content). But, consider these two: emotional investment and memorability.

Louis-Vuitton-storytelling

Emotional Investment

Humans are hardwired to respond to stories. They evoke emotions, create empathy, and build connections. Brands that use storytelling effectively can connect with their audience on a deeper level, fostering loyalty and trust. 

Take brands like Nike or Apple, for example. Their campaigns often focus on inspiring stories of personal triumph and innovation, which resonate deeply with their audiences.

This is key. We are not here to simply entertain, we’re here to drive profitable growth, we’re here to build a brand. Stories connect people to brands, and people only buy brands they trust.

Memorability

Stories are not just entertaining; they are also memorable. 

Research shows that people are more likely to remember information presented as a story compared to a list of facts. This is because stories engage multiple parts of our brain, making the information more sticky and easier to recall.

How did this creator get 53.2M views on a single video?

She told a story.

She brought us into a super relatable scenario with universal appeal, made us feel some kind of way about it, and gave us a ‘promise of a payoff’.

This is how you hook, retain, and deliver a fun storytelling experience.

This is storytelling. No heroes, no trusty guides, no villains, just traditional setup, conflict, and resolution.

Now, think about how your brand might use this approach with your social and content strategy.

People Don't Buy Products, they Join Tribes

The brands we buy are statement pieces, they are expressions of our individuality, they communicate our values to the world.

If you’re like me, you have at least one Dyson product, multiple Apple products, a closet full of Lululemon, a shoe rack full on Nike, a Vitamix in your kitchen, a couple Stanley mugs, a Yeti cooler, etc.

These brands made us all care about traditionally ‘boring’ categories, we were willing to pay more for them, and in many cases we would not consider alternatives. They did that through offering a premium quality product, an elevated pricing strategy, and through branding storytelling.

Dispelling the Myths about Storytelling Marketing

Storytelling marketing is any sequential narrative that hooks the viewer at the beginning, guides them along through a journey, and has some conclusion at the end.

Your customer doesn’t need to be the hero, you don’t need to be their trusty guide or mentor, and there doesn’t need to be some evil villain or pain point they are trying to overcome.

It sounds nice, and it’s often repeated, but it’s not true.

Continue reading: Dispelling the Myths about Storytelling Marketing

Over a Decade of Experience

For over a decade, I wrote under the penname Edward Mullen. I have published 17 books (many have gone on to have millions of reads), several short stories, countless blogs, hundreds of YouTube videos, etc. This is a lot of practice with creating narratives that resonate with people.

To learn more about my books, please visit www.EdwardMullen.com.

Related Resources about Storytelling Marketing

Add Your Heading Text Here